A week ago, I did something unusual – something that would have seemed positively crazy a year ago. I signed up for a half marathon a week before race day.
Admittedly, it wasn’t all that crazy. I’ve been training for Around the Bay – a 30km race – so my longest training run leading up to Sunday’s race was 20km. We had planned a 22km training run anyway, so we figured, why not sign up for Burlington’s Chilly Half Marathon? It would be a lot more fun than a 22km jaunt through the streets of Toronto! We’d just have to make up 900 metres somehow!
Overall it was a good run for me. I finished with a time of 2:01:43. Not a personal best, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to run a good, consistent race, test my nutrition strategy and see how I felt at the end. Was I completely depleted? Could I go on for 8.9 more kilometres without collapsing? I was certainly tired, but I think if I had to, I could have kept going. Good news.
The Chilly Half is a nice course: an out-and-back along the waterfront through some pretty neighbourhoods with huge homes. Thankfully, the weather was decent. The sun even peaked out for a few minutes. It was relatively mild and there was virtually no wind. This could have been an ugly race otherwise.
There were ultra enthusiastic volunteers handing out e-load and water every couple of kilometres, and lots of cheering fans at key points throughout the race. They also had some great race signs that made me laugh out loud as I ran by. My favourites:
“Pain is temporary. Internet results last forever.”
“You’re tired? Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
While I know you’re never supposed to try anything new on race day, I did try one new thing: I ran without music. I got a Nike GPS sportwatch for Christmas and have been using it more and more for long runs instead of bringing my iPhone and using the Nike+ app. Overall, running with no music was fine. I liked being able to hear the fans. A particular highlight for me was distinctly hearing them call my name as I crossed the finish line. I totally felt like a celeb. I feel like that was the first time that’s ever happened, but I may have just missed it in previous races because I couldn’t hear over my music. I’m not going to lie though, I could have used a song or two in the last couple of kilometres when I was losing steam.
I’m sore today, but not completely decrepit which is a good sign. I’m hopeful my recovery time will be quick because I’ve got lots of running planned including the longest run of my life – somewhere between 24 and 26km! Wish me luck!